Monday, August 6, 2012

Prince Valiant, Volume 5: 1945-1946

Following is how Fantagraphics describes the latest volume in its Prince Valiant series.


Fully half of this latest volume of Hal Foster's epic masterpiece – again scanned from superb syndicate proofs – is devoted to the remaining chapters of "The Winning of Aleta," a 20-month(!) epic in which Valiant obsessively pursues his bride to be. Not surprisingly this is followed by a sequence called "Matrimony," which ends with a newly wed queen adjusting to the luxurious, exciting court life at Camelot.

But Val's marriage does not signal an end to his adventures, quite the contrary. In "War in the Forest" Val is sent out to spy on encroaching Saxons – unknowingly aided by Aleta, who, disguised as a small knight (and dubbed "Sir Puny") helps prevent disaster. But the 1946 strips end with Val and Aleta unable to return to Camelot and the displaced couple journeying to Thule.

Half the strips in this volume also include the delightful "The Medieval Castle," Foster's chronicle of two young boys growing up during the time of the First Crusade – but by the end of the 1945 strips this series has ended and the Valiant portion resume its full-page glory.

This volume also features a Foreword by P. Craig Russell, a gallery of Hal Foster's commercial illustration work and an essay titled "Aleta: Water Nymph of the Misty Isles" by Brian M. Kane [author of The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion] .

With stunning art reproduced directly from pristine printer's proofs, Fantagraphics has introduced a new generation to Foster's masterpiece, while providing long-time fans with the ultimate, definitive version of the strip.


  1. I bought Volume 4 awhile back. Can't wait to get my hands on Volume 5!

  2. You should try gorgeous Manuel Caldas black and white Spanish edition...

  3. I've just finished volume 5, and continued to be enthralled with the series. Something that becomes readily apparent when reading it as a big, contiuous story is how deeply Hal Foster fell in love (as it were) with his creation: Aleta. It truly becomes her strip in many ways. Unlike so many females in heroic fiction, she absolutely refuses to surrender to the passive, cliche'd role of Damsal in Distress. Foster comes up with a character that, in some ways, is well ahead of her time, since there is rarely a situation that she's not completely ready to take charge of. The only aspect that seems to keep her anchored to the rather sexist conventions of the time is that her unequalled beauty seems to be considered her greatest asset, and she happily and habitually takes advantage of that fact. I, of course, am far more impressed by the fact that she routinely bests any number of men in direct physical combat when they press violent physical assault upon her. She is a terrific and refreshing character with still more than a little mystery regarding her past.